Press Release 3.6.17

For Immediate Release:

On Monday, February 6, 2017, Arcata School of Massage (ASM) received notification from the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) that our Application for Approval was pending denial. ASM has until April 3, 2017 to submit written material in support of their approval, and the CAMTC will consider that material on April 12, 2017. The CAMTC then has 180 days to make a final determination. Until that time, ASM remains listed with the status of “Pending Approval.” 

On Tuesday, February 7, ASM notified our students of the potential denial, in order to give them a chance to decide whether or not they want to continue to attend a school that may be denied approval. Because ASM was Approved to Operate by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), the school was legally authorized to continue to provide educational programs, and students could have chosen to attend those programs, regardless of the school’s status with the CAMTC. However, students who graduate from schools that are not CAMTC Approved cannot obtain Certification as Massage Therapists. Pending denial of approval from the CAMTC, we expected that most of our currently enrolled students would choose to withdraw from the program, since attending a school that is not CAMTC Approved would not be the best use of their time and money. 

Despite overwhelming community support, and specifically the support of our graduates, we expect that the CAMTC will uphold their decision to deny our approval. That would be consistent with their behavior with other schools during this process.In that light, Arcata School of Massage has discontinued all training programs and closed the school. Instead, we now provide local massage therapists with an online resource from which to conduct their business. That resource is called the Arcata Massage Collective, and can be found at

Arcata School of Massage was continuously Approved to Operate by either the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Education (BPPE) or its predecessor the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) from 2004 until 2017. In 2009, the California Legislature created the Massage Therapy Act and the CAMTC. Originally, the CAMTC did not have a school approval process, and instead evaluated applicants for Certification on the basis of their official transcripts and background checks. Subsequent changes to the Act mandated the CAMTC to evaluate and approve schools, as well as applicants. Effective June 1, 2016, CAMTC Certification is only available to graduates of CAMTC Approved schools. 

Since 2015 the CAMTC has approved 84 schools, denied 77 schools, and lists 62 schools as pending. (See CAMTC website: No schools outside the state of California are CAMTC Approved, meaning that no massage therapists who are educated out of state can obtain Certification in California, and no massage therapist who graduated from massage school in California before June 30, 2016 can obtain certification if they haven’t already. This greatly limits the number of people who can legally practice massage therapy in California, and negates the education of many currently practicing therapists. There are many people who think that the CAMTC is doing significant damage to the massage profession.

Certification in California is voluntary and optional, not required. Massage therapists must either obtain CAMTC Certification, or abide by local laws. Local laws may have different requirements, the same requirements, or no requirements at all. It is the responsibility of the individual massage therapist to determine what the laws are and to abide by them. Massage therapists who are CAMTC Certified may work everywhere in California, regardless of the local laws. Presently, Arcata has no laws regulating massage therapy and there are many massage therapists working legally in Arcata who are not and will never be CAMTC Certified unless they go back to school.


Tobin Rangdrol, LMT

Director, Arcata School of Massage

(707) 407-7300

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